Dr Surjit Patar awarded the Saraswati Samman | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Dr Surjit Patar awarded the Saraswati Samman

Renowned Punjabi poet Dr Surjit Patar was on Friday awarded the prestigious Saraswati Samman for the year 2009 for his Punjabi poetry-collection Lafzan Di Dargah.

delhi Updated: Sep 18, 2010 00:48 IST

Renowned Punjabi poet Dr Surjit Patar was on Friday awarded the prestigious Saraswati Samman for the year 2009 for his Punjabi poetry-collection Lafzan Di Dargah.

Union Minister for Human Resources Development Kapil Sibal presented Patar with the 19th edition of the award, instituted by the K.K. Birla Foundation in recognition of literary eminence in any of the languages included in the schedule VIII of the Constitution of India. The award money has been increased to R7.5 lakh this year from R5 lakh earlier.

Sibal said that he believed that any civilization, which does not honour its poets and writers, can never be progressive. “In our everyday life, we ‘evade’ ourselves. We fear to express ourselves. Poetry is rare form of expression that is qualitatively different. But it is dying.”

“(So) it is important for us to recognise those who penetrate our souls,” Sibal said adding, “Patar’s poetry is immersed in reality of Punjab, yet it is universal in appeal.”

Earlier, Foundation president Shobhana Bhartia said the poems in Lafzan Di Dargah “have a burning intensity despite their essential sadness.”

Patar (65) observed, “Our time is not congenial to literature and languages. According to surveys of UNESCO, every year many languages disappear from the map of the world languages. Whosoever tries to rescue these cultural treasures’ riches deserves our deep gratitude.”

Sprinkling his speech with couplets of famous Punjabi poems, Patar concluded, “Are people really going away from poetry or it is poetry which is going away from the people? I feel if poetry gives people the place in its heart, people will give poetry the place in their hearts.”

Prof S.S. Noor, senior member of the Chayan Parishad (selection committee) and Foundation Trustee Priyavrat Bhartia also spoke on the occasion.